College Football Likelihood of Scoring a Touchdown

Just a quick post here as I start digging into the excellent college football play-by-play database available at

The database has touchdowns coded as either 1 or 0, so each play either is a touchdown, or isn’t.  That made it extremely easy for me to produce the graph below, which shows the likelihood of scoring a touchdown depending on whether a play is a pass or run.  Pass plays are represented by the blue line, while run plays are represented by the red line.  There’s an interesting bump in the red line at the 25 yard line that I’ll probably try to dig into.  The PBP database includes about 400,000 observations of both run plays and pass plays, so I suspect the bump is real.  It could be the case that run plays from the 25 have the defense just a little more stretched out than a run play from say the 18 yard line, and therefore the odds of scoring a touchdown from the 25 are slightly greater.  Anyway, it’s something interesting to look at further.

Run Plays = Red Line

Pass Plays = Blue Line


  • Guest

    Does it have anything to do with overtime where they start the ball off at the 25 yardline?